Russ Moss Digs Trees

Russ Moss – TreeKeeper, former chair of the Baltimore City Forest Conservancy District Board – is a dedicated tree lover.  Wherever people are planting trees or learning about them, look for Russ – often with camera in hand. A devoted TreeKeeper, he is optimistic about all the new tree planting. "This comes at a time when the city understands better and better that trees are valuable, that trees boost citizens' health and they contribute to the city's wealth. Oh I'm a 'tree evangelist' from way back; it's in my Georgia blood."

A longtime activist in his Reservoir Hill neighborhood abutting Druid Hill Lake, Russ this spring led the re-planting of the North Avenue median (for the second time in a decade). "In 2004 Maxalea beautifully planted up seven medians between Mt Royal and Madison Avenues," he says. "It was the culmination of work by many partners, and I credit especially Mark Cameron [then of the Neighborhood Design Center] and George Winfield [then head of the Department of Public Works]. The result was a handsome $250,000 project, with a lot of volunteer time put in, that completely transformed  the North Avenue corridor."

Russ  communes with an old tree on his European travels

Russ communes with an old tree on his European travels

When Russ retired from WJZ-TV, where he had covered City Hall for years, Mayor Sheila Dixon thanked him not only for his professional skills, but for his dedication to greening the city, as exemplified by the North Avenue medians project.

Russ sees the recent renovation of the west side median as a complement to the Station North arts revitalization underway  on the east side of I-83, where green infrastructure is being thoughtfully incorporated. "North Avenue is US Route 1, a federal corridor and a highly visible Baltimore city roadway. On the west side too it is gateway to many diverse communities including Reservoir Hill and Bolton Hill, and now, with the new Leake Building open, it is actually MICA's welcome mat. The west side median deserves sustainable attention and re-beautification." And thanks to Russ, and many other determined volunteers, it is green again.